FreeNAS: Hardware vs. Hardware

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The Gecko

Active Member
Jan 4, 2015
I find myself in possession of two different platforms on which I could host FreeNAS. I cannot use both since there is only room for one. I am turning to the community for opinions.

Usage Model:
  • iSCSI for Virtual Machines (30+ VMs, 3TB)
  • SAMBA/CIFS for Documents and Movies (low traffic, 14TB)
  • Looking to move away from iSCSI to Fibre Channel
Platform 1:
Platform 2:
Shared Hardware:
  • IBM M1015 HBA flashed to IT Mode
  • QLogic 2432 4Gb Fibre Channel card
  • 24x 1TB Hard Drives
  • 128 GB SSD L2ARC
Side-by-Side CPU Comparison Link

Wins for Platform 2:
  • I know that FreeNAS's iSCSI service and SAMBA/CIFS service tends to be single threaded, so the extra MHz of the Xeon would help there.
  • The DDR3 is 1.35V vs 1.8V (DDR2), so I could save some power there.
  • The Xeon idles at 0.8V while the Opteron is at a fixed 1.125V, again giving the power savings win to the Xeon.
What makes it hard to let go of Platform 1 is the extra 32 GB of RAM. Can you think of any reason to keep Platform 1?


New Member
Jun 17, 2014
24TB array will be well served by either RAM setups. FreeNAS+AMD seems more problematic than FreeNAS+Intel so Id keep system two on paper. Of course, scientifically, you could configure and bench them both and keep the one you KNOW works best/fastest.

17TB of your 20TB (after formatting etc?) is getting close to FreeNAS 'reliable' limits (call it 80%?).

Read the how-to guides on FreeNAS forums for some good advice. Hope these rambling thoughts help


Well-Known Member
Sep 17, 2011
Other advantages to Platform 2:
* The Xeon is significantly faster per-clock than the AMD - its not a direct 2.4 VS 1.8 comparison - per-core the Xeon probably has double the performance.
* Memory bandwidth on the Xeon platform is going to be significantly faster as well.

The only thing I could see as a benefit to Platform 1 is if you happen to already own PCI-X expansion cards that you want to use. It also seems you have an incorrect link for the Xeon MB - you listed X8DT6-F but the link goes to the page for a X8DTE-F. So I'm not sure if there is any advantage to Platform 1 having onboard LSI SAS or not.

I'd go with Platform 2 if it was my build.


Active Member
Jan 16, 2013
I'd go platform 2. You get encryption support which you don't get on the older amd's.


Active Member
Jan 30, 2015
Another vote for platform #2. FreeNAS would probably work just fine with only one CPU populated if you want to save power, unless there are other consequences (less memory support?).